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Archive for Blog development

Having won third place in the Educational Blog Awards for our whole-school approach to blogging, an article has today been published in the Tottenham and Wood Green Journal as well as on haringey.gov.uk. Here is the article:

Ferry Lane Primary gets top marks for school blogsite

Tuesday 21 June 2011
Ferry Lane Primary school in Tottenham is celebrating being awarded third place in the national Educational Blog Awards.

Ferry Lane’s blogsite was entered in the “Whole School Blogsite of the Year” category and was one of more than 300 blogs and blogsites nominated across four awards categories.

Judging criteria in the “Whole School Blogsite of the Year” category was the demonstration of:

“a community commitment to blogging”,
“blogging beyond the classroom” and
“clear and consistent messages about e-safety, comment policy and content”.
After a public vote whittled the blogs and blogsites down to a shortlist of ten; judges awarded third place to Ferry Lane Primary. They said:

“The work of Ferry Lane Primary School deserves a special mention – their class blogs are wonderful and demonstrate what can be done with a bit of creative thought and professionalism from educators. Any school wishing to improve their partnership with parents should visit this website as a model of good practice.”

All classes from Year 3 upwards at the school have their own blogs, with the senior leadership team also taking part and regularly blogging.

Headteacher Maxine Pattison is thrilled with the national recognition and whilst she says that the award celebrates the school’s approach to learning and teaching through the creative use of new technologies, she wasn’t sure what they were doing and why at first. She said:

“I wasn’t very confident myself when we started this project but I can now see the sheer enjoyment and engagement with learning that the children and their families are experiencing.

“It’s had a huge impact on the development of children’s writing skills and the ability to improve their own and other children’s writing in a constructive way.

“I’m a true fan of blogging now and proud of the way the children and families have responded to the opportunities available through the use of new technology.”

“As a school leader blogging is an opportunity for me to get in contact with families, reinforce the learning we do at school and celebrate the school’s successes with a wide audience. I can also interact online with other school leaders to share ideas.”

Jack Sloan, the teacher who introduced blogging to the school last year, continues:

“Through the blogs, many opportunities have arisen for children at the school, including helping to make a BBC documentary and an invitation to the children to sing at a national conference.”

“Children have also been asked to write for award winning websites such as brainpop.co.uk and Teach Primary magazine. The quality of writing is improving all the time at Ferry Lane, and the engagement developed through blogging has been a driving force in this increase in attainment. I’m amazed at the commitment of all staff at the school to this venture – it shows what can be achieved when a school works together effectively.”

Cllr Lorna Reith, Cabinet Member for Children congratulated pupils and staff at Ferry Lane, citing the blogsite as one of her favourites. She said:

“This recognition is thoroughly deserved. I enjoy the blogsite and often log on to read the latest creative writing and updates from the pupils and staff. The blogs are engaging and entertaining and the quality of writing has sky-rocketed. Well done to everyone at the school.”

Jack Sloan from Ferry Lane will be delivering training to other schools in the area on how to get children blogging from September 2011.

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under: Blog development, Ferry Lane

Thanks for the mention!

Posted by: | June 23, 2011 | No Comment |

Thanks to David Mitchell for his mention of my work at Chorlton Park on blogging. You can read his article here. He says:

The work of Jack Sloan and his pupils at Chorlton Park Primary were absolutely crucial and at the start of all my work. It was Jack who showed me what was possible through pupil blogging, and without the chance to have seen him doing this with own class I would not have had that insight into thinking this may be the solution to Heathfield’s problems with writing. He was helpful in so many other ways too.

Thanks also to John Sutton for his praise of the Ferry Lane blogs at his presentation at BMoble here.

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under: Blog development, Chorlton Park, Ferry Lane

We won third place for our whole-school approach to blogging. Very pleased. They were looking for:

A community commitment to blogging
Blogging beyond the classroom
Clear and consistent messages about e-safety, comment policy and content.

Here is what they said about Ferry Lane:

Ferry Lane came in third in this category with judges commenting “Powerful learning demonstrated through a whole school commitment to class blogging. The work of Ferry Lane Primary School deserves a special mention – their class blogs are wonderful and demonstrate what can be done with a bit of create thought and professionalism from educators. Any school wishing to improve their partnership parents should visit this website as a model of good practice”

We are also in the Tottenham and Wood Green Journal this week. Click here for the article.

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under: Blog development, Ferry Lane

I have been asked to run a course for teachers in Haringey who are new to blogging. The idea is to encourage them to have a go and get them set up.

I have produced some tutorial videos to get them started, There are more to come.

What do you think? What should I add?

‘Bling’ your blog in 10 minutes! Make it look great and help to make your school blog more user-friendly.

Moderating blog posts and comments.

Adding and managing users – simple but laborious method.

Embedding photos and video on your school blog.

Using categories and tags to organise your blog.

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under: Blog development, Ferry Lane

Stuart Sutherland and John Sutton ran this discussion about the impact of blogging and other technology on parental engagement. The Ferry Lane blogs were showcased for their good practice, both for their innovative approaches to communication and the quality of work being produced. Click here for the article.

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under: Blog development, education policy, Ferry Lane

brainpop article

Posted by: | January 21, 2011 | 3 Comments |

A recent article written for Brainpop.co.uk about the impact of blogging on children at Ferry Lane Primary School. Sharon wrote the bulk of the article (she is 10). Click the image below to read the article.

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under: Blog development, Ferry Lane, Uncategorized

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under: Blog development

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under: Blog development, Chorlton Park

Visitor numbers going up…

Posted by: | February 9, 2010 | 1 Comment |


The Year 2 blog stats are going up all the time. So far today we have had 400 individual visitors, the highest ever. Whilst this is great, the number of comments are down (outside school hours). I’m beginning to think about reasons for this, and wonder what other people think. Is it just that visitors are using links and games from the site (which is great if true), that they are not finding anything of interest to comment on (which is not so good) or for some other reason.

Answers on a postcard please!

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under: Blog development, Chorlton Park
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The theme at  November’s  SSAT conference in Birmingham was “21st Century Schooling: The Globalised Challenge”. There were many highlights, especially George Alagiah making an insightful and passionate keynote about the “Bottom Billion” – the economically worst off in the world. However, I was struck by the overwhelmingly corporate message which came across from the majority of other speakers. Sponsors of the conference included HSBC, Rolls-Royce, Toshiba and BT, and the multinationals plying their trade in state education was welcomed in a way that I felt went completely unchallenged.

To illustrate this point, have a look at the “Global Fellows” videos from the conference. Here highly articulate, entertaining and bright 18 year olds discuss their work placements in developing countries with companies such as KPMG and Shell. The tone is enthusiastic and competitive, but there is no mention of the real impact of these multinational corporations on the developing world. By choosing these young people as keynote speakers at the conference, the message from SSAT and ultimately the government was that global business is what all our children should aspire to. There was no space to consider the ethics of these companies, no time to comment on whether the global impact that oil companies are having was a positive  one or not, no scope to consider whether we actually want these corporations in our classrooms.

The conference seemed to focus entirely on the short-term fiscal requirements of a more globalized world. In order for our young people to compete globally they will need to develop language skills, a competitive edge, an understanding of ICT etc. There was no consideration of the impact of this type of world on our children or the children in the countries where these teenagers had visited. It is of course true that children being educated in India are learning languages and ICT, but they are cheaper to employ too, and that is the real reason that the big companies source so much of their labour there…

As a primary school teacher, I find all of this quite difficult to swallow. I DO want my children to think about their global impact. I DO want my class to know about economics and about how their globalized world works, and I DO want them to be employable, but I also don’t think that Shell, KPMG or Rolls-Royce are necessarily the right people to help them gain that understanding. Whilst I understand that my children need to compete for jobs when they graduate, I do not think that the model of globalization which is extolled by these big companies is the one I would choose to teach to.

So how do we teach our children to be global citizens? How should they acquire the skills they will need for the jobs that we are (constantly) told have not been invented yet?

One way that we have tried to develop in our children a better understanding of  the world around them is through using blogs. My class blog has become a pivotal part of my daily teaching in many ways, but one of the most powerful aspects of this technology is to connect my class with the whole world in a largely non-commercial and democratic manner. In its simplest form, my children know what is happening across the world. Children and adults from all over the planet tell my children about events that are taking place where they live. On a deeper level, there are constant opportunities for my children to learn about the economics and opportunities available to  people in other parts of the world. A quick look at our Clustrmap from last year will show you who has been visiting from which countries – why is this? Language? ICT access? Political censorship? My children want to know where The Lebanon is, and why only 1 person has visited our blog from there, when we have had so many from the USA. It was Jimmy Carter who said “Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing… you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn’t affect two-thirds of the people of the world.”

My children want to know about the world. They are learning the skills they need to communicate with others as Global Citizens, and they are having to be creative and resourceful in order to answer their own questions. They are actively involved in their education, writing their own posts and asking questions about the world around them which are answered by people all over the planet.

If, as seems likely, the conservatives are voted in at the next election, the links between global industry and education are surely likely to increase. Budgets will be cut and the temptation to accept sponsorship and private money in education will become harder to resist. I believe that it is crucial that our children grow up not just with the ability to earn money and feed the economy, but also with free-will and a perspective on the world which allows them to be compassionate, critical and truly creative.

“Globalization is a fact of life. But I believe we have underestimated its fragility.” – Kofi Annan

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under: Blog development, education policy
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